We are proud to introduce Edulastic Innovator Spotlight member Shemena Shivers. Shemena is a high school science teacher in Memphis, TN. Be sure to check out her video interview (especially her teaching philosophy!). It’s really great.
Get to know Shemena Shivers
How did you learn about Edulastic? What is your Edulastic story?
I was looking for an online testing platform that didn’t require me to print the exams or to print the bubble sheets. My students had grown weary of paper tests and they hated the monotony of multiple choice assessments. I used to google to find any online platforms that had test banks and stumbled upon Edulastic. The moment I made an account, I was immediately a fan!
What initially inspired you to work in education?
Growing up I had some of the most committed educators ensure that I was seen and heard in school. My opinion carried clout and my teachers taught me to exercise my voice, even when it was uncomfortable. School was an emotionally and academically safe space for me to grow and learn about the world and myself. After working a part time job with kids during college, I realized that I enjoyed working with youth. A few switched classes and an additional minor added, and education took over my life. Having the opportunity to inspire the next generation of innovators is extremely fulfilling and exciting. I get to create a space for students to be curious, to explore and to search for deeper meaning and connections to the world at large.
What do you love about Edulastic? How do you use it in your classroom?
The multiple options for testing questions, the variety and depth of the question bank, and the alignment to current standards made me feel like it was the perfect platform to try in my class. After assigning my first quiz, my students’ scores nearly doubled what they had been on previous paper exams. The students were engaged, they loved having a variety of question styles, and these expressed how they felt comfortable taking the tests because they didn’t have to think about all the questions in the same way (higher order thinking). As my students tested, seeing the in-the-moment progress was so helpful. I could see exactly where students were struggling and give in the moment support if I saw trends in the data. Also, having the bright and easy to understand data graphs made planning for re-teaches and future lessons unimaginably easier. I could cross reference multiple classes and see exactly what each student in each class needed help with.
Overall, Edulastic has helped me become more creative with my assessments, and has allowed me to think outside the box when assessing student comprehension and growth. My favorite part of Edulastic is being able to give my students partial credit on questions with multiple parts. Breaking away from the any part is wrong, the whole thing is wrong mindset is crucial for my students’ success. Oftentimes they feel discouraged when they continue to get everything wrong. But when they can pinpoint at least one section that they got correct, they have some hope and future investment that they can and will be better! I am so excited to use this software starting from the beginning of the year and I can’t wait to grow in my understanding and application of it!
What tips do you have for teachers who are new to Edulastic?
Take some time to play with the different options! The beauty of Edulastic is that you can create your own material and also borrow from others’ in order to tailor make assessments. Completing a trial run (taking the assessment as if you’re a student) will allow you to see what they student will experience and allow you to ensure you provide students with the best testing environment.
Please sum up your teaching philosophy in a few sentences:
All students can achieve at high levels, no exceptions! All students bring talents and gifts into the classroom. It is our job as educators to pull them out and teach students how they can apply these to become the most successful versions of themselves!
Share an #EduVictory from the past year:
I teach in an impoverished and underserved community in Memphis. Many of my students are multiple grade levels behind in math and ELA skills which always makes test taking extremely difficult. For a specific test on the importance of water and the types/sources of water, I spent weeks teaching my students by using pictures and descriptions. On their test I chose to create a drag and drop question with the multiple types of sources. Nearly 70% of my students got most or all of the matches. When we discussed it as a class, students were able to help one another identify their errors though Edulastic, by comparing the pictures I uploaded into the exam to the pictures in their notes. It was the first times I saw my students confidently address their peers’ misconceptions using technology and in a way that tied in their prior knowledge to the exam itself!
Favorite Edulastic question type:
Favorite lesson to teach:
Heredity and Traits Inheritance (dominant/recessive alleles)
What subjects do you use Edulastic for?
Environmental Science and Biology
Sponsor for Melrose Golden Girls Dance Team + Sponsor/Support Staff for Girls Talk
Must have classroom decor:
Bitmoji posters and colorful bulletin borders